nWhat are non-epileptic attacks?

Many different words are used for non-epileptic attacks (NEAs). The more commonly used terms include non-epileptic, dissociative, psychogenic, functional or conversion attacks. Sometimes the words "seizure",  "episode" or "event" are used instead of "attack". In the past terms such as "pseudoseizure" or "pseudoepileptic seizure" were quite widespread.

Some of these names can be offensive, none are perfect. Having so many different names for the same condition can be very confusing. However, all names describe the same thing: attacks, which look similar to epileptic seizures, but are not caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain (epileptic activity).

Some people are also confused by the word "seizure". They may think that their NEAs do not look like seizures or that having "seizures" means that you must have epilepsy. However, seizures can be epileptic (caused by epileptic activity) or nonepileptic. The causes of NEAs are explained elsewhere on this website.

Like epileptic seizures, NEAs can cause blacking out, uncontrollable movements, collapsing, injuries and loss of bladder control. NEAs are not consciously produced to achieve something.

Read more about how common non-epileptic attack disorder is.